October 11th, 2015

What is “China’s Citizen Scores”?


By now, many people have heard of the implementation of China’s “Citizen Scores” that has been making rounds. I become curious and did some investigation of my own.

As a boy scout as a kid, we used to play a game around campfire. The adult would form two teams and make two lines with 10 kids. He would the whisper the same exact message to first kid of the two teams, whereby they would repeat it to the next kid and so on until the last kid have to write the message down on paper. We always have a good laugh what comes out at the end compared to what went in.

“Citizen Score” is what happens when official news gets reposted, added with the journalist opinions, mixed in some new information (relevant or not), and repeated the process 10 times. To make it worst, most journalists in the process didn’t bother to, or was not able to do fact checking as the source is in Chinese.

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June 2nd, 2015

What’s going on in China domain name industy?

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Recently, there have been a lot of noise about China tightening control on new top levels and how it could severely damper domain names registrations in China and one should make preparation for the worst.

Initially, I tried to stay out of this as I know all the players behind this. But given there are at least 3 people who have email me to ask me what’s going on, I think let me clear the air here.

It started with a report by Brandma on China’s “Special Operation” to regulate Domain Name Registrations which warns that “Getting the license requires understanding on how the regulatory system works and how one should respond as it evolves. It’s also like a mini ICANN application process, but this time in Mandarin.”

Contrary to these “doomsayer” report, there is really no need to panic.

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October 15th, 2014


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August 27th, 2014


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在互联网精神的核心下我们有了一张巨大创新能力的网。 有开源的Linux,免费的邮箱(SMTP),也有了腾讯,阿里巴巴与百度这些伟大的互联网企业。



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August 1st, 2013

China’s Category of Telecommunications Services

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This morning I read a catchy titled article on CircleID “China Closing the Door to New Technologies”. I was trying to make sense of what’s all the fuss is about …

So I called up my friends in Ministry of Industry and Information for lunch to find out what’s going.


The document is called 电信业务分类目录 (Category of Telecommunications Services) that is now calling for public comments. This has been something MIIT have been working on for a quite some time now. Many companies, domestic and international companies, have been consulted and provided feedback before this publication.

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April 24th, 2010

.中国 and .台湾

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Finally after months of hard work from many people, in front and behind the scene, the ICANN board finally resolved:

* Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.10), that CNNIC be notified that the .中国 (xn--fiqs8S) and .中國 (xn--fiqz9S) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of CNNIC’s detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.

* Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.11), that TWNIC be notified that .台灣 (xn--kpry57d) and .台湾 (xn--kprw13d) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of TWNIC’s detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.


February 20th, 2010

Making sense of Sino-US relationship

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US strategy towards China has been particularly confusing to many people. It is strange that the two major economic power of the world today would taunt each another in so many different issues. This UK Guardian article nicely summarized the situation.

This dysfunctional, agitating approach to Sino-US negotiations and communications only continues to erode the relationship between the two countries, which has already been weakened recently as a result of US comments over internet censorship and the sale of arms to Taiwan. This should not become the normal way for the two nations to engage, particularly when it comes to bilateral issues.

One obvious difference between US and China is the ‘Culture Differences’. ‘Culture differences’ is often used to explain the disagreement but seldom really understood. The background and construct of the political system between the two country couldn’t be greater, that leads to misunderstanding and mistrust.

Let me give two examples:

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May 31st, 2009

Fixing North Korea Mess

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Asia politic is something close to me that I followed quite closely although not something I often blog about.

Yesterday, I tweet: *doh* When would US clueless hardliner learn how to deal with #China? RT @CNBCtopStories: Knocking Down the China Myth

I am not surprised that Tony Fratto, ex-Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for the Bush Administration would take a hardliner view on China. He is absolutely right that China did not buy US debt out of altruism and it is in China self interest to continue to do so.

For those interested, one should read the excellent article by Paul Krugman China Dollar Trap.

But what he is wrong is the attitude with the assumption that US is in the position of strength in the negotiation. Squandered by the 8 years of Bush administration, in global goodwill as well as economy strength, US has to come to terms with the new reality.

Still, people in Washington continue to believe that US has the power to command or the very least, to bend China to her will, as we witness in the latest saga with the North Korea.

Washington’s think tanks are concerned with North Korea’s nuclear missile test, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates “raised the idea of a tougher approach toward North Korea’s recent nuclear test … including the prospect of building up United States military forces in the region should six-nation diplomatic talks with North Korea fail” (JS: ST reported Gates does not plan to build up American troops in the region…Hmm…)

At the same time, they are appealing publicly (and privately) that China should do more in the saga, and it is not in the interest for China and US and China must stand up to North Korea togther.

Promfret got it absolutely right that when he say “First, there’s a silly assumption in Washington that our interests (no nukes in North Korea) are the same as China’s. But they’re not. China’s first interest in North Korea is making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. China’s second interest? Making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. From Beijing’s perspective, nukes in North Korea rank somewhere around 10th.”

Asian mentality on society values stability above anything else. I quote Kishore Mahbubani “An imperfect government that commits some human rights violations is better then no government, in many societies”.

China emphasis of Harmonious society is a broader reflection of that philosophy. Western interpret that as working towards a better society of equality, freedom and prosperity. Chinese understood it as tolerance for imperfection in society and when inequality occurs, look at the cup half-filled not half-empty.

North Korea having nukes? Okay, bad idea but chances that North Korea will unleash it in China is next to zero. A unstable North Korea is far more dangerous to China. A known devil is better than an unknown friend.

So Washington’s think tank who really think China will do anything to step into the affair right now is just dreaming in their ivory tower. And as I noted early, US is no longer in the position of strength to bend China to its will.

China needs US as much as US needs China, economically. One is a producer, one is a buyer. One is a lender, and the other is a debtor. The two economy is tightly coupled and therefore, one yield to the other not because of differences in power but in the mutual interest of both party.

US may have greater military power over China as a whole. But with a war in middle east, and a mess-up economy, China know US cannot sustain a (cold) war in the Far East. US “threats” of greater US military presence is at best laughable.

Japan, who is traditionally US ally in this region, is also mindful of China rising power is also evaluating their position. Japan is honestly concerned over North Korea but unfortunately has little clot in the matter beyond making motherhood statements.

It is left to South Korea who feel the immediate threat to flex its military muscle with US support. North Korea immediately responded that South is nearly an act of war.

Perhaps that’s what Washington has in mind all along. Not exactly what I like to see but perhaps that’s what it takes to bring China to do something.

* Also read the excellent article by Eric Anderson.

December 27th, 2008

Moving to China


I spend most of my time this year in China – My family has made an important decision to move to China. Things has being crazy for the last couple of months with the logistics but we finally have our first Christmas over here.

The decision is a combination of my work, but more importantly how I see the world developed in the next decade or two. Out of the 4 fastest growing economy — Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRIC), I think I can fit into China.

One thing I have certainly improved is my Chinese since moving over here, or at least my wife (who is a Chinese teacher) say so. Nevertheless, I think the depth of Chinese I can command is still pretty far from norm conversation.

For example, I was having tea in Beijing several weeks ago when a friend asked me why I could not get along with another certain mutual person. I struggled to find the right words to expressed in Chinese. When she got it, she just said “君子合而不同小人同而不合*”.

Just 12 words explained what I tried to do in the last 5 mins. Chinese is an amazing language — it contain far more “information” per word than English if you know how to use it properly.

* “君子合而不同小人同而不合” is a saying by an ancient Chinese philosopher known as Confucius record in the “The Analect”.

September 5th, 2008

Updates and P2P in China

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I had a crazy month traveling across Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and finally back in Singapore. It was great trip, mostly business but in between some personal stuff, catching up with ex-boss, old friends and making new ones. A great evening with Marc Canter and his family (love the Canter’s song! :-)

It was also a great time traveling in US as a Chinese. Taxi drivers rave non-stop about the amazing Chinese Olympic openings and for the first time, see China differently. (Well, I wasn’t born in China but still I am a Chinese :-)

On my way back to Singapore, AIMS published the recommendation on the changes to media policy in Singapore. I was one of the stakeholder they consulted early in the process so I got swamp by reporters who got an early preview of the document. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read the final version before them so I couldn’t really answer most of their questions. Anyway, suffice to say, I was happy with the progress. It is a much bigger step in media liberalization that I expected.

So I was back in Singapore and I met a fund manager yesterday. She asked an interesting question:

“Why are there so many P2P companies in China and not in US?”

It is worthy to reflect on that question because in some ways it is true. In US, we have but other than that, most P2P applications have pretty much gone. Napster, Kazaa, etc, gone.

Wait, what about Skype? Firstly, Skype is not US company. Secondly, Skype P2P is actually very simple – connect A to B, both behind NAT, via a supernode C. In fact, their Kazaa background has more complexity than Skype architecture.

Now compared it to China, the land of P2P Streaming with PPLive, PPStream and UUSee. There are numerous P2P downloads the most famous being Xunlei (backed by Google). And all of them are very successful : PPLive has over 100M installation based, 34M active users monthly.

So what happened?

I think it has to go back to the early 2000 when music industry decided to clamp down Napster. The defining moment was when Napster was shutdown by the court after years of lawsuit. Since then, anyone with a bizplan that even has the word “P2P” is unlikely to get funded. Innovation in P2P basically stop dead, with the exception of bittorrent and Skype, but both become relatively successful without VC backings.

On the other hand, P2P has no such stigma in China. Investments in P2P continues to flourish and today China can claim to have one of the most advance P2P technology in the world. To the extend that when people are finally trying to do video these days, people are looking towards China and see how video are being delivered in the number 1 broadband country in the world by number of subscribers but probably one of the worst by quality.

Look at the Olympics numbers. PPLive alone has more peak concurrent viewers (1.6M) than NBC (600k) and BBC (200k) add together.

There is a lesson to be learned: The unintended consequences of slapping a “evil” label on a technology where in reality, technology is neither good or evil, but rather the use of it.

Disclosure: I am associated with PPLive.